Fears, Drama and Trauma.
There is much of it in the world, and much that keeps us occupied. Looking at the horizon, the storm looks mean, and deadly. Yet it is water drops, or even more likely a mist. You can handle the mist with no problem. Do you fear the mist.
If you look at the storm as a mist collection, how would your fears remain? Change the definition and change the reaction.
We all walk on a path. We all face obstacles. This path picture is from the trail in the Great Smokey Mountains. I walked this trail, and thought of the obstacles we all face. Now the log is but a symbol of the obstacle in our path. Think about this. If you are in the woods, you would not be surprised with a log being across your path. You might even expect it. You would not yell or get worked up. You would step over or go around.
Why is it that when we are faced with obstacles in our lives, do we become upset. We stop and complain about the obstacle. We resist stepping over or going around that obstacle. We feel it is unfair that we have to deal with the changes we face in our lives. Why do we not expect that there will be obstacles in our path? Questions that arise for us may be related to things that just happen. Life happens. Step over or go around, and keep moving!
It is really frustrating when we try and communicate with those who are in our lives, and they just do not get it. They want us to get over the reactions and move on with our lives. The desire of others for us to move on, is NOT always a denial of what we are experiencing. It could be that they just do not know what we need. Sometimes we need a hug and to be told everything will be alright. But our loved ones may not know what to give, as they are worried about causing more of a reaction.
You will have to teach others how to treat you. This may be hard to do, as you may not know just what to teach them. You may be just as confusing as them as what you need. It is an exchange of learning. You will have to learn more about what you need, and then be able to teach others what you need. Counseling can help with this. You might start with a list of safe topics and safe interactions and share that with you family. Then you can make a list of off limit topics or actions. They are not going to know these unless you share them.
Hopefully you can use your voice and improve your interactions with your support system, and thereby reduce your frustration.
The reactions to trauma are not always what one thinks. Just because one has been abused, the details of the abuse may not be the primary area of reactions. Sometimes it is the associated factors that cause more of a problem. Think about friends, how will they react. Will they still accept me? Or will my friends turn their backs on me? This may so much more impactful in a persons life.
The fact that the details ofthe abuse are often easier to accept, than the damage to the relationships in life. About 85% of abuse is done by people known and trusted people. We often think of the impact of abuse as the destruction of the relationship. Yet, this is often not the case. Many survivors have mixed feelings about their abuser. This means that recovery ends up focusing on that relationship, rather than any physical reaction to abuse details.
In recovery it is important to remember to look at all reactions. To limit you examination of reactions is to limit your recovery.
In a session not too long ago, I made a metaphor about forgiveness. I looked out the window and pointed to a tree. I remarked that forgiveness is letting go of the wish that the tree would return to the form of a nut so I could eat it. I can wish all day that what happened did not happen, but it is past. It is history and thus unchangeable.
This is a difficult concept in recovery from trauma. We wish that we could change what happened. We dream about those changes. We focus almost constantly on how we could have done things differently. If we had only known, we would have done this or that. We may even blame ourselves for the choices we made. Yet the truth is, none of that can be made different. The tree has grown and can not become a nut again. The events have happened, and can’t be undone.
I have heard of other sayings as well. One of the ones that has a lot of truth, is that you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. So the question is not how do we change the past, we can’t. The question is what do we do in the future. How can I take what happened and learn to do things differently? This becomes movement towards healing.
I saw the following status on Facebook “you really know who you dislike when you see them on your news feed”. This is a teen reflection, and is exactly what a reaction is. When this person SAW the post by another person, they got angry. Think about this for a moment. The person is not even in the room. The person is a collection of lighted bits on a computer screen.
The event that this teen faced was a post. The reaction was anger. The question is what was the person thinking about when they saw the post. It could have been anything.
“He hurt me” “He hurt some I love” “He cheated on me”
Any of these will lead to anger. Any of those could lead to other emotions as well. The other feelings could be sadness, grief, disappointment, and many others. It is the thought that drives the reaction. It is how you think about the event that leads to the reaction.
Jalapeno Iced Cinnamon Rolls. The concept is one from my work with children who have been traumatized. Those young people who have been sexually or physically abused. The metaphor is about reactions. For example, If I brought to you, a large plate of hot fresh baked cinnamon rolls. Some of you would be smiling right now, and some would be turning up their noses. That is a reaction. It is a reaction to a thought. I have no rolls for you right at this moment. You are reading about this.
When someone has been abused, they develop reactions. Things that remind them,or make them think about things, can lead to reactions. This Blog will deal with reactions. The workbook I wrote, deals with the reactions from trauma. https://www.createspace.com/3911013
I hope this blog will serve as a great resource. Thanks for coming by.